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Sakhalin Energy starts drilling first offshore gas wells in Russia

Sakhalin Energy, the operator of the Sakhalin II oil and gas project off Russia's Pacific Coast, said Monday it had started drilling the first offshore gas wells from the Lunskoye-A platform.

The platform is Russia's first gas-producing offshore platform located at the Lunskoye gas and condensate field, 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) off northeastern Sakhalin. The platform is designed for year-round operation in harsh weather conditions, and is able to withstand high seismic activity, the company said.

"The commencement of drilling of the first wells from Lunskoye-A platform is a major development milestone. Lunskoye-A will provide the main volume of gas for LNG [liquefied natural gas] production, opening the new energy markets in Asia-Pacific and North America for Russia," Sakhalin Energy's CEO Ian Craig said.

The $20 billion Sakhalin II project is developing the Piltun-Astokhskoye and Lunskoye oil and gas fields on the island's northeastern shelf, with recoverable reserves of 150 million metric tons (1.1 billion barrels) of oil and 500 billion cubic meters of gas.

The project's shareholders are Russian energy giant Gazprom (50%), Royal Dutch Shell (27.5%) and Japan's Mitsui (12.5%) and Mitsubishi (10%).

© RIA Novosti

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